Over the last decade, creatives have begun to make their presence known in our culture. Creatives have been influencing the culture in multiple facets and large companies have been noticing. So creatives please know your worth because over the years we have given away million-dollar ideas and received chump change in return.

After two years of being an exclusive podcast on Spotify, Joe Budden announced that his podcast, The Joe Budden Podcast, will no longer be a Spotify exclusive. In episode 375, Joe shared this announcement along with details on the podcast’s unpleasant history with the company.

Since joining Spotify, Joe Budden has become a force in the podcasting industry. According to Joe, his podcast has exceeded Spotify’s audience expectations by 900 percent and has yet to receive compensation for exceeding their expectations. He also went on to say that the company wouldn’t allow him and his team to take vacation days on Christmas and New Year’s Eve because that would have required them to miss two episodes. 

“I am not going to succumb to any bad deal that is not working favorably toward the people who have created that path.” -Joe Budden

Knowing Your Value. Just Say No.

Like Joe stated in the quote above, don’t bow down to anyone who is undercutting your worth. Over the last decade, so many creatives have been taken advantage of, especially black creatives. From developing shows on YouTube, podcasts, or just being an influencer on social media, creatives have settled for less when they could’ve gained more by just saying no.

One of the best examples I can use for just saying no to these companies is the Dave Chappelle situation. In 2006, Dave Chappelle walked away from a $50 million contract to continue his acclaimed show with Comedy Central. You see he was on top of the world with his show The Chappelle Show yet he chose to leave it all behind.

Dave realized that his vision was being exploited and it wasn’t worth the mental stress it had on him. Just imagine how much the networks were making off Dave if they offered him $50 million to continue. Now think about how much he would have made if he had control and ownership of the show. That realization of how much you could’ve had in retrospect to what you have would drive anyone to lose it. In an interview on Good Morning America Dave hinted at this emotion.

“I was talkin’ to a guy… He basically said to me that comedy is a reconciliation of paradox,” Chappelle told Gayle King. “And I think that that was an irreconcilable moment for me. That I was in this very successful place, but the emotional content of it didn’t feel anything like what I imagined success should feel like. It just didn’t feel right.” – Dave Chappelle

Own Your Shit. Invest in Yourself. 

Speaking of what life can be if you had control and ownership of your content lets take a look at Tyler Perry. Personally I’m not a fan of his work, yet I can’t deny his inelegance. As a director, actor, producer and writer, Perry has grossed more than $660 million over his career. Perry’s wealth comes not only being a creative, but from a library dating back to the early 1990s: he owns 100% of the content he’s created. Yes, he owns everything he’s ever touched even the films he puts out. Whenever he does something with any company it is announced as a partnership and not a deal.

Just imagine if he had settled and taken a deal for his stage plays when he was living out of his car. Perry knew his worth and the worth of his material and reaped all the seeds he’s sown over the years. There would’ve been no way he could’ve made $66 million. His story alone is a testimony of how ownership is important as a creative and believing in your talents. 

The thing about using other people’s money is they’re going to set the rules. So at the beginning I used my money, kept reinvesting in myself. Now I own all my content, as opposed to having someone else own it and me being ‘work for hire.’ That’s the difference between doing well and having generations of wealth to pass on to your children.”  – Tyler Perry

Handle Your Business.

Know that not settling for less is more and that the long game is what really matters. Don’t allow yourself to build a house that you ultimately wont own. Have a vision for your content and focus on building your kingdom. Invest in yourself and don’t owe anyone. For we should be the gate-keepers and the kings of our own kingdoms.